Sunday, November 30, 2014


Thirty-plus years ago, my high school sweetheart and I got married. We were young and dumb. So young and so dumb that the memory of this life altering decision has the power to cause my husband to have semi-faux panic attacks—usually in the shower. 

Afterwards, he stands in the bedroom wrapped in a damp towel and yells, “What were we thinking?”

“Not much!” I respond.

It might be easy to think that life has been a smooth sail on an endless pond of Jell-O for a couple of high school sweethearts like the two of us. 

Not so much.

Luckily, in the beginning we didn’t own luggage, and it was too embarrassing to get ticked off and leave while dragging plastic garbage bags. It looked pretty stupid to have to haul your junk out of the house in black plastic garbage bags. Sometimes poverty and a lack of luggage are blessings in disguise.

Bottom line, my high school sweetheart can still make me want to stuff black plastic garbage bags full of my shoes and makeup and drive to the state line.

And just recently he made me revert all the way back to a primitive state I like to call: Barbarella Viking Bride.

I was so angry . . . 

About what? Not important. Never is. 

I was so angry that I walked into my kitchen, felt my fingers curl around the satisfying curve of a fresh-from-the-hen-house egg, and chucked it as hard as I could into the sink. It was an egg bomb. I found shards of that egg in invisible nooks and crannies for three days—not to mention my eyebrows. 

Mostly, I found egg dripping down my face. I, literally, had egg on my face. But instead of being embarrassed or ashamed or self-conscious, I reached up and with two fingers drew parallel lines down both my cheeks and across my forehead in the yellow yolk of rage. In the split second it takes to heave an egg, I had become one with my Viking ancestor’s state of primal berserk, wearing the war paint of sticky gick. 

Staring at my fearsome visage, I thought about getting more eggs and egging the truck, burning down the mailbox, or ransacking an abbey. 

Then I realized that I’d just have to clean all that mess up, so I washed my face, picked egg shell out of my hair, and pulled the veneer of civilization back over my head like a waterproof poncho.

Still mad, I did the worst civilized thing I could think of: I went to the store and bought orange juice with LOTS of pulp in it. My husband hates pulpy orange juice.

He swilled it down just to spite me.

He can be a bit of a Viking berserker himself.

That’s the problem with civilization and civilized behavior; it can be a mighty thin veneer at times—as thin as an eggshell. 

Linda (Shield Maiden) Zern 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Absolutely Fuzzy

**Bobwhite was a college guy who sat next to me in my creative writing class. The only thing that made Bobwhite the College Guy angry was people who believed in absolutes. He made this declaration with absolute certainty.

It was a declaration that made me mildly uncomfortable because I, of course, only believe in “absolutes.”

I absolutely believe that certain teenagers who tell you that they are “ready and able” to drive the family van, will, in fact, run that van off the road at fifty-miles per hour through a barbed wire cow fence—at the first available opportunity causing $4,123.13 in damages and an ulcer epidemic among the adults in the family.

I absolutely believe that two-year olds, left on the back porch by themselves, when told not to eat the dog food, will eat the dog food after soaking it in the dog’s water.

I absolutely believe that college students, who do not pay taxes, car insurance, or their own meal allowances, are excited about the re-distribution of wealth—mostly other people’s.

Bobwhite believed that human beings didn’t even know why they did what they did, but after they did it, they try to figure out why they’ve done what they did, so they’ll know stuff about why they do what they did for future doings.

I don’t pretend to understand that sentence.

He also believed that human beings are motivated to do what they do by chemicals, genetics, and reality television. He also believed (with no apparent historical precedent) that the future looked brighter than the past, because of all the information available on-line, of course. If we can just stuff enough information into people, they will not want to rip-off the old folks pension plans.

I remain skeptical—also menopausal. I believe that thieves with a lot of education are just educated thieves or politicians.

Bobwhite’s basic premise was that human beings without education or Google Earth have no ability to exhibit will power or self-control above that of the average poodle.

Wanting to put his theory to the test, I asked him, “Do you mean to tell me that if I get the urge to smash your head in with a brick, it won’t be my fault, but a combination of menopausal hormones, urban blight, and Irish angst.”

Bobwhite said, “Exactly.”

When I get into these deep philosophical discussions at school the other students sit in a semi-circle starring at me to see if I will stroke out.

Turning to the semi-circle of my fellow students, I said, “Girls, go get me a brick. I want to test out Bobwhite’s theory.”

They laughed.

I was serious.

Oh, those college kids are so adorable, but they’ve got a lot to learn. It’s true that the two-year old will eat the dog food, but she won’t eat it forever. It’s also true that teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to drive until they’ve joined the Army or the Peace Corp. And college kids eventually become taxpayers and want to know, “Who the heck is this FICA guy?”

The truest absolute of all is that the fuzzy thinking of the young and freshly educated will sharpen right up as soon as someone they are closely related to decides it’s a hilarious idea to drive around town with a fake bomb in the trunk of the family car.

Linda (Absolutely Me) Zern

** Name has been changed because I am not an absolute dweeb.

Friday, November 21, 2014

So Thankful For Readers and Their Comments

Linda Zern's book, Mooncalf, was a very enjoyable read. I take pleasure in historical fiction. Not growing up in Florida, I was able to learn a bit more about this magnificent state that we live in and it's southern roots in a much more vivid way than from a text book. Her descriptions were lively.  The many ways that just the Orange groves and it's treasures and findings are brought to life from a child's eyes are enchanting and even startling at times.
     Also, each character has very distinct traits that help them be brought to life. I enjoyed figuring out the characters instead of being 'told' how they were. As a mother, I especially felt for Leah's mom and thought about how abandoned she must have felt.
    This is a special story because it's two in one, bonus!! It puts a new thought process into reading, challenging us just enough. Being told from two completely different life styles between children's innocent eyes is refreshing. Adults make things that should be so simple, like true friendship, more difficult than they should be because they think 'they know best.' How wrong we can be.

~Amber Sorrough~

Monday, November 17, 2014

Smell That Country

We are country folk. Walking to the mailbox takes longer than a football halftime. Mowing the “lawn” is a commitment. Assorted animals have raucous sex in plain view and without shame. And NOTHING smells like it was whipped up in a Johnson and Johnson laboratory to smell like pumpkin spice and applesauce.

As country folk, we recognize that the “real” world stinks. Literally. 

FACT: There is no deodorant big enough for Mother Nature.

“What is that stench?” I said to absolutely no one, while sucking air through my teeth because the hairs in my nose were sizzling. 

Sunlight jittered. A light, calm breeze heavy with hell’s foul breath wafted. 

I checked the horses in the barn. They were happily crunching, munching, and tooting their way through life. Pretty standard stink there. Not the source of the truly foul odor that floated across my yard in a toxic cloud. 

The smell wasn’t coming from Mr. Abe’s, our Moroccan neighbor. The festival of blood . . . er . . . um . . . the festival of Eid was over and everyone had cut their chunks of bloody goat meat out of the trees and dragged them home. 

FACT: Yes! You read that correctly. My neighbor slaughters dozens of animals twice a year and then hangs them in the trees while everyone from their mosque enjoys a picnic. It’s a cultural treat for the eyes, but there’s less smell than you might think.

Another gust of wind gagged me.

Not Mr. Abe’s then. The stink was coming from the other neighbor’s house, Mr. Medina: retired former pizza restaurant owner and bare-chested weekend hobby farmer.

A Nubian ram, the size of a small pony, lifted his nose to the sky, curled his lip, dropped his head to his side, curled in to himself, and peed on his own face. The smell exploded across two acres of pasture like the stench of an open landfill. 

It was the filthy musk of a full-grown boy goat in raging, snorting . . . rut . . . er . . . lust . . . um . . . love . . . WITH A DONKEY.

I pinched my nose as I watched the impossible sight of the enormous boy goat leaping after Mr. Medina’s donkey. The donkey, eyes whirling around in his head like pinwheels, ran for his sexual purity. The donkey brayed. The goat pranced. Goat smell continued to choke me.

Then, if that wasn’t countrified enough, I gaped as Mr. Medina popped out of his barn door like a cork out of a bottle—broom in hand. He started to chase the goat, chasing the donkey. The trio circled the pasture. I rubbed my eyes and coughed.

FACT: Mother Nature is nuts.

I thought about helping my neighbor as a good Christian woman should. I didn’t. I was too afraid the goat might start chasing me. I couldn’t risk it. I don’t run that fast.

FACT: Mother Nature plays for keeps.

I’m not sure what the moral of the story is except to say, “Run hard. Run fast.”

Linda (Sniffles) Zern

Thursday, November 13, 2014



When selfies go wrong!  It's Mavis the Wild Gypsy Goat of Kissimmee Park Road. 
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